|Connection and disconnection
We had just put the kids in the school bus and waved good-bye. My friend introduced me to a new mum. ‘She talks too much’, I thought. A little later, as I walked away, I reconnected within. I was aware of my judgement and was curious to find out where it came from. Underneath I found the feeling of vulnerability that had been with me for several days while going through a very intense process. And I realised that it was not that the new mum talked too much, but that I wanted to be heard and held by my friend.
The kids were fighting. I restrained my daughter physically so she wouldn’t hurt her brother. She had a big cry, shouting and swearing at him from my arms. Once she was calm, I found the right moment and said to her:
‘I see that he speaks to you with anger; he blames you; he is impatient and unkind. What happens to you when he does that?’
‘I don’t mind’, she replied, ‘I just want to get on with the game’.
‘Yes, of course, you prefer to carry on playing than to ask him to talk to you differently and maybe make him angry at you. But what happens inside of you, in your heart?’
‘I feel angry’. I was so happy that she could, not only see that, but also admit it.
‘Yes, that’s right. And every time he talks to you like that, there is a little more anger in your heart. And little by little, the anger piles up until you are so full of it, you can’t hold it any longer and you explode and hurt him.’ I could see in her expression that she related to what I was saying. ‘How would it be if you didn’t let it pile up? If you called him up on it every time?’
‘But I want to keep on playing!’ she moaned.
‘Yes, I understand, you don’t want to stop the game every time. And so what will happen is that this cycle will keep on repeating itself until you are ready to stop it; until not letting the anger pile up is more important to you than carrying on playing.’
I knew that was a decision she had to make herself, so I didn’t push it. She had seen my point and that was enough. I let that thought sink in while we cuddled tenderly. Then she went off to play.
This is something that happens often between me and my son: I ask him to do something. He refuses. I get triggered (in Aware Parenting jargon, a Sweet Spot gets stroked in me). I take myself away and listen to my inner girl. She cries and rants and moans. Once she is settled, I go back to my son. I get really close to him, touch him affectionately, I am curious to see how he is feeling. I often find the reason why he refused to help (like he is engrossed in something really interesting, or he needed to understand the reasons for my request, or I asked with a tone of voice that meant “you should help now” and he just didn’t want buy into my blackmail). From this space of understanding I connect with him. I might ask about the interesting thing he is into, or give him the reasons for my request, or apologise for my tone of voice and suggest alternatives that might work for both of us. From this place of connection, most of the times I reach an agreement with him about my request. The rest of the times, I still feel like I have won, because I am connected to myself and to him.